Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pork Loin smoking on an open fire....

Ok. so the fire's not open, it's contained in my Weber Kettle. So sue me.  Smoked pork, Mixed veg, and mashed potatoes for supper last night, carrying it to a friend's.

Pork Rub
  • 1-1/12 C kosher salt- Iodized Table Salt Will NOT do for this application.
  • 1T onion salt
  • 1T Garlic salt
  • 2 T Celery Salt
  • 2T paprika
  • 3T Black ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 c Black-strap molasses
  • 1tsp Mace
  • 1tsp Nutmeg (FRESHLY ground)
  • 1tbsp ginger

I put the rub on the meat on Saturday afternoon, but I made a newbie mistake- I forgot to RINSE the meat before I threw it on the grill.  The result was a little more salty than I like.  Smoked this with Kingsford Briquettes, and applewood chunks.  Everyone liked it, despite the salt.

Remember to RINSE your meat- at least 1/2 hour in fresh water with one change of water before it goes on the grill.
This was a 6 lb loin, and took 1 1/2 hours on two low fires with a water pan between them.

it's begining to smell a lot like Christmas.....

especially in my kitchen, if Christmas smells like peppermint to you.

I should have double bagged the candy canes. really. maybe even triple bagged them.  because when I began to smack them to crush them, the bag split, and candy canes went flying all over the kitchen. 
These lovely treats were so simple to make, thanks to the tutorial on "Baked by Rachael"
They came out a little thick, but that's my inexperience. If you have to get one of the hearts, be careful. The second candy cane that forms the heart was supposed to show through the dark chocolate, and mostly doesn't!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday- Planned Leftovers- Soup and Sandwiches

Autumn Chopped Salad
OK, I admit it- I don't have a panini press, but I DO have a George Foreman Grill. I love hot sandwiches in the fall and winter.The sandwich filling was inspired by this Autumn Chopped Salad I found on Pinterest

Smoked Turkey, Pear & Walnut Panini

2 C smoked Turkey, cubed
2 pears- 1 diced, 1 sliced
1 C chopped walnuts, divided (If you don't like walnuts, use whatever nut you like!)
Balsalmic vinegar, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
sliced cheese- something with some bite
softened butter
  • Toss the sliced pears in a little vinegar to prevent them from oxidizing.
  • Place the turkey, half the walnuts, the cubed pear and the spices into your food processor.  Process until it forms a thick paste, scraping the work bowl several times.  add about 3Tbsp of Balsamic to the paste, and process until incorporated.
  • mix remaining walnuts into paste for texture 
  • Butter bread on one side only
  • Place slices of bread , butter side down on your hot grill, Spread with paste, top with sliced pear, cheese and second slice of bread, butter side up. close grill, and cook until crisp and golden on both sides, and the cheese is melted.
  • Serve immediately with hot soup and cold crisp salad . (Mine will be  Pacific's Cashew Carrot Ginger soup with a Romain salad with cranberry balsamic vinaigrette- what will yours be?)
Cranberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 c fresh cranberries
1/2 c Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 c EVOO
Salt and white pepper to taste
sugar to taste
  • process the cranberries until chopped very fine.  Add Cranberries and 1 tbsp or less sugar to jar,  stir to coat, add Vinegar and mix thoroughly (I processed the sugar and cranberries together)
  •  add salt, pepper and EVOO, cover and shake until emulsified. Let sit at least 1 hour to allow flavors to combine. Keeps refrigerated for up to 1 week, in a tightly sealed jar.
  • for less "crunch" in your dressing, you can microwave your cranberries until very hot, add the vinegar, then allow to cool before you add the oil and spices.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday- Planned Leftovers- Turkey Goalers

So tonight is a recipe from a promotional  Minnegasco Modern Living Center recipe book from my childhood.  Mom says it's from somewhere between 1955 and 1962.  Tonight we're pairing these with baked potatoes, but you can serve alongside leftover veg from Thanksgiving, if you have any!

Turkey Goalers

1 baseball sized sweet onion, diced small
2-3 cups diced leftover turkey, white meat, dark meat or a mixture
3/4 c mayo
3-4 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
1 tbsp sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
1 loaf good bread ( I prefer white for this, because it is what I grew up with)
Sliced cheese.  We always used Velveta, but now I prefer a nice colby or mild cheddar.

In a large bowl, combine the mayo, sugar and mustard.  Add milk a little at at time until it is the consistency of salad dressing. (Do not leave out the sugar- the sugar is what binds with the milk.  There should not be enough in the dressing to make it sweet)  Add diced meat and onion, toss to coat. Refrigerate about 1 hour, to allow flavors to combine.

Lay slices of bread out on a cookie sheet- about 2 per person.  Top with turkey mixture, spreading it to completely cover slices of bread, and then top that with sliced cheese.  Place under the broiler until cheese bubbles, and edges of bread begin to toast.  Serve immedieately.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Time for the Turkeybird......

It's 8:45 am and I'm headed out to the garage to start the grill.  Hopefully WITH the chimney starter. Wish me luck. pics soon.  We're smoking a 20+ lb bird for Thanksgiving this afternoon.  According to Weber, that needs 13 minutes per pound- that's 260 minutes or 4 and 1/3 hours.  Dinner is at Three, so the Bird needs to be off the Grill by 2, so it can rest and get down to MIL's place in the 2:15- 2:30 range.  Counting Backwards- that means bird on the grill at 9:30 at the latest.  Time for Coffee and a cruller, and a grand and glorious washing of pots to make room to make pie fillings. 

The Turkey rub:
  • 1-1/12 C kosher salt- Iodized Table Salt Will NOT do for this application.
  • 1T onion salt
  • 1T Garlic salt
  • 2 T Celery Salt
  • 2T paprika
  • 3T Black ground pepper
  • 1/4 c Brown sugar 
  • 1tsp Mace
  • 1tsp Nutmeg (FRESHLY ground)
The night before, Rub the turkey all over, inside and out with the salt rub.  Be generous, use it all.  Refrigerate, covered until time to grill the bird the next day. At this time, also get our smoking wood into water, if you are using big chunks.  they need to be thoroughly soaked before they go on the grill.  I'm using hickory this year, though I also was gifted some lovely apple-wood.

Build a pair of fires in your Weber kettle about 25 briquettes on each side.  Use rails or baskets to contain your fires, and place a disposable aluminum tray in between, with about 1" of water in the bottom.  Place your chunks of wood on the fires.

Back soon with pictures.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

pie handles

Pumpkin Pie Tarts made with the Babycakes Pie Maker
Ok, so we're on batch 4 of 6  pumpkin pies for tomorrow.  Out of filling. Need to run get more pumpkin and condensed milk. and ground cinnamon.  And pie crusts- cause these are WAY too convenient.

Things I've learned:
  • Pillsbury Pie crusts  make 6 bottom crusts for this baker per round- but you need to re roll to get crust 6. 
  • I found a great tip on the web for these things- place a 1/2 inch wide strip of PARCHMENT PAPER under your pie crust before baking, with ends that stick up about an inch to each side.  Pies lift out of baker like a DREAM.
  • DO NOT vent or sugar your top crust.  BIG MESS, blackened sugar and filling.
  • Let cool longer than the recommended time- I've been letting mine sit 20 minutes between batches.
  • The Pies are slightly larger than you would expect- the Pumpkin Pie Tart recipe says it makes 24- I got 15 out of it.

SO- it works perfectly with both single and double crust pies.  We'll see this afternoon how a crumb topping goes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I have a NEW TOY!

Gonna try it out today:
Babycakes Pie Maker $29.95 at Bed Bath and Beyond.

I plan to make  the Pumpkin Tarts in this, as well as some apple tarts and the Cranberry Pear Crisp from What's Cooking Chicago.  I'm starting with Pillsbury's refrigerated pie crust, and the Apple Pie recipe that came with the pie maker, and going on from there.  I'll let you know how it works out.  (I'm also going to make some meat pies using leftover sloppy joe mix, and maybe some leftover curry- if I ever have any leftover curry......)

 1st batch blues- Pie maker works just as advertised.  Over filled a little, and sugared the tops- BIG mistake.

DO NOT vent your lids, or sugar the tops. ended up with filling everywhere, and ou can see what the sugar did.

Cleaned up just as easily as my Foreman grill does though- just a wet paper towel, and a high tolerance for heat.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday night- and the next week

this week is going to be primarily take out and frozen microwave food.  Getting ready for the convention takes priority.

But I found a great recipe for pumpkin tarts for next Thursday! Pumpkin Pie Tarts

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday: Toad in the Hole

6-12 good quality ;sausages in casings (I use a sweet Italian Sausage made by our local butcher) (1.5 lbs)
1.5 c flour
4 eggs
2.5 c milk (whole milk or heavy cream is better than skim!)
kosher salt
pepper to taste
nutmeg (freshly ground)
1 bag thawed frozen mixed vegetables (optional)

I a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg
Beat the eggs and milk together, add to, flour and seasonings, whisk until smooth- allow to rest 20-30minutes so the flour may hydrate.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 425 deg., butter a casserole and preheat it in the oven , and brown your sausages on the stove top  When the oven is up to temp, pour batter into the preheated buttered casserole, and lay in the browned sausages into the pan.  Bake until the batter is puffy and golden-between 20 and thirty minutes, depending on your oven.
It's not traditional to add any veggies to this dish, but I try to sneak them in wherever and whenever I can,so  into the batter they go.  make sure they're thoroughly thawed and dried, or the will add too much moisture to your batter.

Serve immediately.  Pretty , isn't it?

I don't know what happened, but the mess was completely inedible.  Too much flour, not enough eggs, let it rest too long, or not long enough before baking.. dunno, but this turned out to be gut bombs, that even the dog turned his nose up at.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

dinner is fail :(

Didn't gt home till almost six, and the sausages are still a block of ice.  Will cook tomorrow- peanut butter, coffee and chips= quick supper and back to sewing tonight.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Getting ready for Thanksgiving week: Smokin' the Turkeys!

Sage, Orange, and Clove Rotisserie Turkey
Thanksgiving week, My Weber Kettle will be getting a work out.  Grilling for Tuesday night, Grilling for Thanksgiving Day, Grilling again on Friday or Saturday for family.  I'm not going to want to see any turkey for a month, after this!

I Love Weber's Big Book of Grilling.  Thank you Kevin for introducing me to it!
I'll be using the Orange Cranberry brine on page 268 on Tuesday, the Firehouse turkey paste on Thursday, and the hickory smoked legs rub on Friday.  I need to see If Kevin will loan me his rotisserie.

First job? Make certain I have enough Fridge space for three birds!  Second- Find and clean out a cooler big enough to transport said birds to their destinations, and get a roasting rack for the birds.

Monday, November 7, 2011

11-6-11 Monday- Stone Soup

Remember the fable "Stone Soup?"  A soldier (or two , or three) heading home from the war, stops in a village. The villagers have all hidden their foodstuffs, because they've been raided so often by soldiers.  The soldier is told that the village is starving, and there is no food to spare, so he offers to make the village stone soup.  He boils a pot of water, throws in a stone, and tastes it.  He talks about how wonderful the soup is, but it would be just a little better with an onion.  Someone offers that the might have an onion, someone else has some potatoes, and pretty soon each person in the village has contributed something to the soup.

 Tonight's soup is kind of like that- Thursday's leftover pot roast and veggies looked pretty lean, so I added more potatoes, the leftover BBQ beef , a couple of cans of cream of mushroom soup, and WOW- a lovely , hearty soup, that even a husband could love.  I ate my bowl before I remembered that I should take pictures.  This week is going to be pretty lean on pictues- I'm sewing for TeslaCon, and going to be petty busy.  Tomorrow is dinner out with the Anime crew, so no post till Wednesday.  See you then!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday - Made Ahead: Pulled Beef

I promise we'll get to Toad in the Hole next week.  Tonight, We're having the Pulled Beef I made Friday, along side the Pot Roast.

In the morning, I trimmed the 3lb chuck roast of fat and gristle, rubbed the meat down with Lipton Onion soup, and put the meat, along with the fat and gristle in the smaller of my two slow cookers. I let it cook for 8 hours on low.  I allowed it to cool for an hour or so while we ate, then removed the meat but not the fat or gristle, to the work bowl of my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.  I used the Paddle attachment of my mixer to break down the beef, on low power.

The BBQ sauce included 1c Ketchup, 1/2c prepared yellow mustard, 1/4 c blackstrap molasses, and black pepper to taste.
I combined the ingredients in the sauce, and poured them over the beef I'd already broken down using the kitchen aid  paddle attachment. I stored the mixture in a large Ziplock bag in the fridge.  It looked a little dry, so I added 1 c of the broth from the slow cooker.  I think I let the beef go a little long in the mixer, there's more "mush" and less definition than I would like.  It's been marinating in the sauce for two days, the flavor should be great!

We'll have the meat on buns tonight, with Potato Salad and Coleslaw along side.  I might even have time to make a dessert.
Coleslaw cheat- Pre cut cabbage and bottled dressing or deli coleslaw
Potato salad cheat- Diced canned potatoes! Blanch these to take out some of the "canned"  taste.

Sorry- no pictures tonight- I had  no phone battery.

Week one Recap, Week two menu

Well, I mostly made it!, My first week went ok.  Still working on kitchen cleanup, but it's 150% better than it was.  Managed to cook 5 dinners, despite a flaky oven, including getting some planned leftovers done.  Learning to take appetizing pictures of food, and ate leftovers one night, instead of going out.

Monday: Curry. Food was yummy, but the pictures, not so much.
Tuesday: planned dinner out
Wednesday: Sloppy Joes!

Thursday: Meatloaf: made two, froze 1, mashed potatoes, and microwaved veggies.
Friday: Pot roast subbed for Soup- leftovers will be Veg Beef Soup.
(not much left!)

Saturday: Leftover curry on baked potatoes instead of breakfast for dinner- Toad in the Hole, hash browns with onion, Toast with jam.
Sunday: pulled barbequed beef from leftover pot roast, roasted new potatoes, coleslaw.

Monday: Veg beef soup from leftover pot roast, Sandwiches
Tuesday: Out at  Anime
Wednesday: Toad in the Hole
Thursday:Chicken Pot Pie
Friday: Tacos
Saturday: Fish & Chips
Sunday: Roast Beef, Baked potatoes, Veg

Grocery List:
Lettuce (salad and shredded)
5 large russet potatoes
5# new red potatoes
bagged cole slaw
onions(3 large sweet)

Sliced Provolone Cheese
sliced turkey

Sweet Italian Sausages
Ground beef
Shore lunch (oven style)

Taco Seasoning

puff pastry or phylo dough sheets
Frozen fries- regular and sweet potato
Peas and Carrots 



Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday- Something Different: Breakfast for Dinner- not.

Going back to the original plan, since the oven is still inexplicably working: Toad in the Hole for dinner.  If of course, I can get the recipe book back from the friend I loaned it to in time to make it.  Otherwise, we'll end up with quiche or some other egg dish.  Maybe egg and onion pie....

Unfortunately, I took a nap this afternoon- so we had leftover curry on baked potatoes for supper. At least we ate at home, and not out.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday: Slow Cooker Night: Pot Roast.

Friday night we often go out to a friend's house for cards, games or just company.  This means that we often eat out on Fridays, just because there is no time to cook.  So Friday is going to be Slow Cooker night.  I currently have two pots for this- A Rival Cock-Pot (this model) and a Hamilton Beach Stay or Go. The Rival Crock-Pot is a 6qt, and came with two crocks.  A large oval, and one that had two wells for separate cooking of side dishes. It's "programmable" which means it has a button that you use to select cook time.  This is also its down side, because if it gets unplugged for any reason, you have to re-set it, unlike a traditional pot with a knob that will just go right back to cooking when plugged back in.  The Hamilton Beach is a smaller crock- I'm pretty sure it's a 4 qt. It has a knob, which I like better, and a seal-able lid for transport- Also a life saver.  It was a gift- If I had bought it for myself, I'd have gotten the 6qt version.

On to tonight's feature: Pot Roast

Let's see- making two 3 lb chuck roasts, split between my two crocks.
so I need 1 lb of red potatoes cut into bite size pieces.,
1 lb of baby cut carrots
1 large sweet onion, cut into large chunks
Celery, if desired
canned mushrooms
Lipton Onion soup mix, or Hidden Valley Ranch  dressing mix AND Good Seasons Italian dressing mix

I am going rub one of the roasts down with the onion soup mix, the other with the dressing mix (I'll end up using about half of the combined packets) . The big crock has the potatoes, onions and carrots layered in the bottom. That one gets the dressing covered meat.  The small crock will just be meat, for Sunday night. It gets the soup mix, meat, and that roast gets more heavily trimmed of fat and connective tissue.  We'll be having bbq pulled beef sandwiches. I'll add a little water, no more than 1/2 cup per crock.  I'll be setting the pots on low, on separate circuits, as my kitchen wiring is not new, and I don't want to blow a breaker.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday: Meatloaf.

The oven is inexplicably working again.....  But I'm running late, and not too much time for process pics today.  We ended up with Mashed potatoes.. but it went over well- Boy had three slices!
For two 1lb meat loaves:
1 lb ground beef
1lb turkey
2 beaten eggs
1 package Stove top stuffing mix OR two cups seasoned bead crumbs
Ketchup, BBQ sauce, or honey mustard
Frozen spinach
shredded cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Let meat come to room temperature
Spin breadcrumbs in food processor till very fine
In a large bowl, mix beef and turkey,until completely combined.  add eggs, and breadcrumbs.  continue working with your hands until fully combined. Because I'm using stove top for my breadcrumb, I don't need any other seasonings.

Split meat mixture in half.  form one into a pan shaped log, flatten the other into a rectangle, about the size of a sheet of paper.

Line two loaf pans with foil, leaving at least an inch lap on the long sides to make removal easier.  Spray the sides and bottom down with cooking spray.  Line one pan completely with bacon.  put the log of meat into this pan and press it in till thee are no more air pockets.  Top with more bacon.  Layer shredded cheese and thawed frozen spinach on the second loaf.  roll up from short edge, place in greased pan,seam side down,and press gently into shape.  COVER this pan with foil.  Bake at 350 deg.for one hour, along side russet baking potatoes  Internal temp of meatloaf should be 165 -170.
Glaze with Ketchup, BBQ sauce or honey mustard in last half hour, if desired.

Alternate cooking method: press into the bottom of your foil lined slow cooker, and bake on high for 8 hours. use foil to lift loaf from cooker.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

11.2.2011 Wednesday: Quick Fix - Mom's Sloppy Joes

My Mom worked as a bank teller before she was married. The bank guard's wife sent mom this recipe as one of her wedding presents.  It has been a family favorite as long as I can remember.  Mom always used straight ground beef, but I've tweeked the recipe somewhat, both to reduce cost and to bump up the flavor.

Today's ingredient bowl
m's recipe is in BOLD, my additions/changes are in italics.

1 lb ground beef ( 1/2 # ground beef 1/2# ground turkey)
1 onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Campbell's Vegetable soup (abc's and 123's)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp prepared yellow or brown mustard
2tbsp bbq sauce
Sliced cheese ( we use cheddar)

buffet buns (small bakery rolls)

This was about the only time we got to have chips with our meal, because the meat already had a serving of veggies in it. but there was usually fruit alongside as well. You can top these with cheese, if you wish, or just have a nice glass of cold milk for your dairy serving.

Brown the meat with the garlic and onions.  Drain the fat.  

In a small bowl, combine the ketchup , mustard and bbq sauce (if desired).  add the soup.  Pour the entire mixture over the meat and stir gently to combine.

Allow to simmer 5-10 minutes, steaming the buttered rolls over the meat for the last minute or so.  Serve on buns, with chips, fruit and milk.

Just a note- I've doubled the recipe today so that I have leftovers.  This stuff makes a great meat pie filling, and I will be using it to make par-baked pies that Daddy and the Boy can just throw int he toaster oven or microwave for lunches.  I'm cheating, and using Bisquick(R) for the dough.  You can also use Alton Brown's pocket pie crust.

Follow the directions on the box, mixing as for rolled biscuits.  Cut rounds using 3" and 2" circles.  Grease and flour a muffin pan or tart pans.  Stretch 3" dough to fit, pressing down so that there are no air bubbles. Dock dough. (Prick bottom and sides with a fork.)

Fill pans to 3/4 full with sloppy joe mix, Top with 2" circles.  Seal and trim edges, cut a slit in center of top.  Brush with milk , butter or egg wash. Bake 10 minutes at 350 deg.,  remove from oven.  Allow to cool, then freeze in pans.  Once frozen, remove from pans and seal in plastic bags.  To finish, place in 350 deg. oven for 15 minutes, or microwave for 5 minutes on high.  Careful-they'll be hot!


Tried to make no- bake oatmeal cookies.  using THIS recipe

well, they LOOK good-
and they taste right,
but I substituted old fashioned oats for the quick cooking oats, and I don't think I let them boil quite long enough- they have no cohesion. :(

Any ideas on how to fix THIS batch?